The Prayer of Consecration Part 3
we your humble servants celebrate and make here before your
divine Majesty, with these holy gifts, the memorial your Son
commanded us to make; remembering his blessed passion and
precious death, his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension,
and his promise to come again. BCP p117
Our liturgy continues with a reminder that we have something to celebrate. We celebrate the whole and complete work of Jesus.The Holy Gifts that our liturgy refers to point to more than just the death of Christ. The liturgy states that in this memorial we remember “His blessed passion and precious death, his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension,and his promise to come again.” If Christ had only died for our sins but did not rise to new life we would not have much to celebrate. Death would still have it’s sting as St. Paul states. If Christ had not ascended to the Father we would not have an advocate with God and would not have the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. It Jesus does not come again we would not have the hope that he will make all things new. The work of salvation finds a focal point at the cross but it is dependent all the whole of Christ’s life and work. When we consider all that Jesus has done and will do our service becomes a celebration!
And we earnestly desire your fatherly goodness mercifully to
accept this, our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving…..
And here we offer and present to you, O Lord, ourselves, our
souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice. BCP p.117
Every member of the church becomes a priest to our God in this saying. The priests of the Old Testament temple were those who offer God a sacrifice. Our sacrifice is our praise and thanksgiving and our souls and bodies. It is a living sacrifice! This is a sacrifice that extends beyond the moment and into a life lived. It is more than Sunday at the altar in church. We give God our daily lives.
The liturgy states that we are unworthy both to give any sacrifice and we are unworthy to be the sacrifice yet God accepts us because of our faith in Jesus’ sacrifice. Our faith in “His blood”. We invoke God’s Fatherly goodness to accept our meager offerings. We are like the child who asks his father for $20 to buy him another necktie for father’s day. Our sacrifice makes God smile because of His fatherly goodness not because of its worth or benefit to God. We give to God not out of obligation but out of love and gratitude for His Fatherly care.
We humbly pray that all who partake of this Holy Communion may
worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of your Son
Jesus Christ, be filled with your grace and heavenly benediction,
and be made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and
we in him. BCP p.117
Participation in the Eucharist makes us one with God and with each other. This is Jesus’ prayer for his people. That we may be one as He is One with the Father. Our Christian unity is symbolized in the one cup that we all drink from. This does not diminish our diversity but enhances it. St. Paul uses this metaphor of the body of Christ to teach that we all are called to particular functions within the body. Some are eyes some are feet and some are hands but all are necessary. Our diversity and unity are held in perfect balance when we see ourselves as all sharing in the one Body of Christ.
The prayer of consecration ends with what tradition calls the great AMEN. The 1979 BCP capitalized all these letters to emphasize the boldness to which people are to respond. It is a reminder that the consecration prayer is not a prayer of the priest alone but the work of all the people. The great Amen is an affirmation by the people of all that has been prayed. It is also a sign of the triumph that comes through this celebration. We have boldness to speak these words before God because of the mighty work of Jesus. I encourage you next Sunday to enthusiastically respond to this prayer with a verbally bold and all caps AMEN.
Holy Trinity Anglican Church
PO Box 81804, San Diego, CA 92138